Pain is a common and unpleasant sensation that everyone experiences at some point. Pain can affect our quality of life and interfere with daily activities, whether an injury, illness or chronic condition causes it. While over-the-counter and prescription pain medications are effective, they have side effects and risks. Fortunately, many natural pain relief methods can help alleviate pain without causing harm to the body. Here we explore the most effective natural pain relief methods and how they work.
Exercise is an effective natural pain relief method. Exercise releases endorphins. It is the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that bind to opioid receptors in the brain and reduce pain perception. Exercise also helps increase blood flow to the affected area, promoting healing and reducing inflammation. Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga are especially beneficial for people with chronic pain.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine technique. Needles are involved in this technique, inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. It stimulates the body’s natural healing processes and reduces pain. Acupuncture is effective in treating chronic pain, headaches, and back pain. It is thought to work by stimulating the release of endorphins and reducing inflammation in the body.
Massage therapy is another natural pain relief method that can help reduce pain and promote relaxation. Massage can help improve blood flow and circulation to the affected area, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Research has shown that massage therapy can effectively reduce pain associated with fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Heat therapy is a simple and effective way to reduce pain and stiffness in the body. Applying heat to the affected area can also help to increase blood flow, reduce muscle spasms, and promote relaxation. A warm bath or hot water bottle is part of Heat therapy. It is especially effective for treating muscle pain and stiffness.
Cold therapy is another natural pain relief method. Applying cold to the affected area can help to reduce swelling, numb the area, and reduce pain. Cold therapy can be applied in several ways, including using an ice pack, compress, or shower. It is especially effective for treating acute injuries like sprains and strains.
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. Some essential oils have pain-relieving properties and can help reduce inflammation. Lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus are essential oils that effectively reduce pain.
Herbal remedies are another natural pain relief method used for centuries. Certain herbs have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and can help reduce pain in the body. Turmeric, ginger, and devil’s claw have been shown to be effective in reducing pain. Herbal remedies can be taken in several forms, including teas, capsules, and tinctures.
- Turmeric: It is a spice used in Indian cuisine. It contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis, back pain, and fibromyalgia.
- Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce pain in osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps, and headaches.
- Willow bark: Willow bark contains salicin, a natural pain reliever. It can reduce pain and inflammation in back pain, osteoarthritis, and headaches.
- Fish oil can reduce pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and menstrual cramps.
- Magnesium is a mineral that can reduce pain and muscle spasms in conditions such as fibromyalgia and menstrual cramps.
Meditation is a mindfulness technique. It involves focusing the mind on a specific object or thought, effectively promoting relaxation and reducing pain.
Chiropractic care is a natural healthcare profession that focuses on treating musculoskeletal conditions, primarily of the spine. Chiropractors use hands-on techniques to alleviate pain and restore function, including spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise.
Chiropractic care effectively manages back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Chiropractic care can effectively manage osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors use a holistic approach to care and work with patients to identify and address the underlying cause of pain.
A healthy diet can reduce pain and inflammation. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds.
Sleep deprivation is essential for pain management, and sleep deprivation can increase pain sensitivity and interfere with pain management. Therefore, developing a sleep routine and creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial.
Stress can worsen pain, and managing stress can reduce pain levels. Stress management techniques can help reduce stress levels and pain, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.
Some natural pain relief points
- The temples are natural pain relief points that can help ease headaches and migraines.
- The space between the eyebrows is a natural pain relief point that can help ease tension headaches.
- The back of the neck is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve neck and shoulder pain.
- The base of the skull is a natural pain relief point that can help ease tension headaches.
- The shoulders are natural pain relief points that can help ease tension and stress.
- The middle of the forehead is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve sinus pain.
- The lower back is a natural pain relief point that can help ease lower back pain.
- The hips are natural pain relief points that can help relieve hip pain.
- The feet are natural pain relief points that can help relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis.
- The hands are natural pain relief points that can help relieve wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The ears are natural pain relief points that can help relieve earaches and migraines.
- The cheeks are natural pain relief points that can help relieve sinus pain and pressure.
- The scalp is a natural pain relief point that can help ease tension headaches and migraines.
- The nose is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve sinus pain and pressure.
- The jawline is a natural pain relief point that can help ease tension headaches and jaw pain.
- The temples and forehead are natural pain relief points that can help ease tension headaches and migraines.
- The base of the thumb is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The top of the foot is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis.
- The inside of the elbow is a natural pain relief point that can help ease the tennis elbow.
- The lower leg is a natural pain relief point that can help ease shin splints.
- The middle of the chest is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve chest pain and anxiety.
- The abdomen is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve menstrual cramps and digestive issues.
- The area below the knee is a natural pain relief point that can help ease knee pain.
- The wrists are natural pain relief points that can help relieve wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The ankles are natural pain relief points that can help relieve ankle pain.
- The base of the big toe is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis.
- The back of the hand is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The toes are natural pain relief points that can help relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis.
- The space between the thumb and index finger is a natural pain relief point that can help ease headaches and toothaches.
- The area around the earlobe is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve migraines and headaches.
- The area behind the knee is a natural pain relief point that can help ease knee pain.
- The area between the collarbones is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve chest pain and anxiety.
- The area around the navel is a natural pain relief point that can help relieve menstrual cramps and digestive issues.
What Are The Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Relief Pain?
NourishDoc: Hello, everyone. Many people are in pain, taking all kinds of painkillers and medications. Well, we are not saying that don’t take the medications, but what we are saying is what lifestyle changes you can do to help relieve the pain, and that’s why we are talking with Anjana.
Anjana is a physiotherapist as well as a Functional Medicine Practitioner joining me. Thank you, Anjana, for joining me. So, in your practice, let’s just talk a little about most of the patients you see, the clients you see, if they have chronic pain, if they are on some medication, or what they are doing.
Physiotherapist Anjana: Many patients who come to me have had pain for more than three months, and they are on a present opioid or a prescription opioid use because when they are pain varies or when their pain is more than 80% of their capacity, they are advised to take opioids which I subscribe too.
But my job as a physical therapist with them is to bring the pain down from eight to three so that it becomes more manageable and slowly help them to taper the medication. So that’s what I do from eight to three. I work as a physical therapist with them.
From three to zero, I work as a functional medicine practitioner with them, trying to understand the imbalances and eliminate chronic pain. Eight to three is assessing their movements, imbalances, lifestyle, small changes they can make in everyday life, and how they can bring in some hygiene to sustain minimal or manageable.
Processes/Protocols Used For Pain Relief
NourishDoc: Okay. So let’s understand a little bit deeper as to what kind of process or protocol you’re using from eight to three. You said it’s mainly focused on the movement part. If you want to elaborate on the movement part, then from three to zero, what kind of lifestyle modifications? This is not medical advice, but on a general level, what are you prescribing?
Physiotherapist Anjana: From eight to three, when you are in severe pain, the first thing is to understand what triggers your pain. So, what are the triggers of your pain? So, how do you move during the day? How do you get up? How do you sit? What do you do? And those are the factors I focus on, and most of my patients I see if they are even very active.
They pack all the movement in that one or one and a half hours of gymming. After that, they return and are mostly sedentary because of working from home. COVID protocols and restrictions are in the house. The remaining ones are the ones who are not active at all. So they get up in the morning and don’t have a proper schedule.
So they get up in the morning 15 minutes before they have to log in, so they may not have breakfast; they jump in and sit in front of the system, and they are there in front of the system for prolonged periods. So one is the not so mobile, the ones are the mobile ones but which pack their movement in that 1 hour. So my advice to anybody looking to be a pain- and injury-free is that you move at regular intervals.
So they are not movements; they are micro-movements. Make sure you choose to do two things, maybe two to five times, every two to three hours. So that way, your body gets constant feedback that it needs to move, and that’s how our brain is designed. Our brain tells us to move, which is a biological need. In modern times, we can easily offload because all our modern amenities do not help us offload movement or allow us to move much.
So, please put movement, a small movement break, in your schedule three to five times a day, and that will be great. So, for most of my patients, I ask them to have a variety of movements again because we move in repetitive ways. Our areas where we stay are small, and the things we do in the gym are often repetitive. So I ask them to maybe once focus on the breath; the schedule is made in such a way that they’ll have movement variety throughout the day.
So my advice is to move more during the day and to move more of you during the day, so that helps you to generate those good hormones, what we now talk serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These hormones are naturally anti-inflammatory, bringing the pain down and a state of alert down. Once that happens, naturally, your dependence on medication is less because if you see over a period of a week that your pain is not flaring up.
Suppose you’re moving yourself a lot more. In that case, it is a natural driver for you also to stop the opioid or rather deeper the opioid dependence. So this is one major thing I do. The next major thing I ask them to do if they are okay, is to use as minimal furniture as possible. So, instead of being stuck in a chair where your hip and knees always fix like a cage. So, most furniture now is like a cage.
So, you sit for five minutes, two minutes on the floor. If possible, try and do long sitting, bury your position, put cushions, put pillows, and then be on the floor because that gives you much more movement and freedom. If a floor is not possible for you, choose a lower couch like what I am sitting on right now; choose a low couch so that when you get up, you will be forced to take yourself, lift yourself, and thereby you will be using your knees and thighs.
That is only when after assessment, they are okay to do such low movements and tell them what level they can do and in level what they can do. Then the third one, and I am from India. So the third one I advise patients to do is eat small quantities at regular intervals. So, eat in moderation, and keep the hunger drive up; keep small portions throughout the day so that the carbohydrate intake on the macro and micronutrients are balanced throughout the day.
That also definitely helps in healing. The fourth and last point, which is the most important, is maintaining sleep hygiene. I ask them to go to bed at the same time, wake up simultaneously, and thereby regenerative and repair processes happen.
So these are the four things I focus on to bring them from eight to three and to bring them from three to zero is, I look into what physiological and biochemical processes are going through testing, through functional diagnostic medical testing, and then based on that I take it forward. But again, the dependence is not on any supplementation; I don’t match a problem with the supplementation. I work on their lifestyle because that would be easier to carry forward in their lives.
Recommended Lifestyle Modifications
NourishDoc: Okay, and what lifestyle modifications are you recommending from three to zero? Can you expand on that?
Physiotherapist Anjana: I focus a lot more on what they eat. So, when we do functional diagnostic testing and see what it’s, they are sensitive to specifics; presently, in my clinic, I see patients who are sensitive to gluten but have no celiac. But gluten gives them musculoskeletal issues. For example, joint pain, swelling, and fatigue.
So, I allow or ask them to eliminate gluten for some time and slowly reintroduce it. Then the second and some patients are allergic to dairy. They are not allergic per se medically. But they are sensitive to dairy, so I ask them to eliminate and slowly reintroduce it. So these are the food restrictions or food changes. So I focus on what is on their plate and what should go in.
Again, the food I prescribe to them and not supplements must be natural foods. It would help if you were grown locally and ate what you have eaten throughout childhood because your gut microbiome is generally tuned or designed how you are brought up; please do not change it so much. You stick to what you have eaten. Eat a variety of foods. Have a variety on your plate.
Ensure you have locally available probiotics in India and Southern India, where I belong. Curd rice mixing rice with curd is a very important ending to the meal. I follow it now at least once or twice a week because when you mix rice and when you mix curd, it balances the protein in the curd and protein in the rice, and thereby it is a lot more; it’s a probiotic mixture which is in a more stable form and more utilizable form of the body.
So like that, you go back to your native foods and eat. That will be the first thing. The second thing I ask them to do is again move more but here now, move more mindfully. So add breath if you want to go down in a chair, on a low chair, or on a stool. I want you to breathe in, use the core, and allow the core to come out. Go down. So, allow the diaphragm to go down, and once you go down, breathe out gently so that you allow the diaphragm to come.
You are allowing the ribs to move and the core to move. You are bracing the entire torso, giving you good balance and posture. When you do this, and over time, these habits become automatic patterns in you. So, even when doing these movements, you don’t injure yourself much. That is the second thing. So, here is moving mindfully. The third is that I focus a lot on sleep and hygiene.
Again, you need to know if you were sleeping at 12 before, and from one, you have come to 12. I would ask them to shave off one more hour and return to 11. So that you at least get restful sleep, the biological response leak is designed from 10:30 to 3:30 or at least get that restful sleep. So that is the third thing. Then again, I put, and after all this, if there is still a need for any nutraceutical supplementation, it is given for a short period.
For example, if you have a leaky gut and you are leaky gut causing musculoskeletal issues and not allowing your pain to come down fully. That’s when I would work on the leaky gut for you. So the nutraceutical part comes last after all these factors have been set and if anything is residual. Usually, it will be one to zero, and everybody wants to be at zero, right? Nobody wants to be with pay.
Keeping A Good Gut Health is Beneficial
NourishDoc: Those are great tips, Anjana. I think the way you explain the whole process, I think it should work because it’s a very systematic process, the way you explained it, you’re starting someone from the movement part, and then you take them systematically with, combine the diagnostic testing and then, making sure the gut is, right? The gut is at the optimal level.
So, these are great tips that you are bringing to all the people out there, who are suffering from pain, there is hope, and that’s what Anjana is helping all of us bring hope to today. Anything else you would like to wrap up with?
Physiotherapist Anjana: This is what I would three things I would like to say. So being pain-free it’s not difficult, and once you have pain, you feel many times whether this pain will ever go away. Pain is again a state of your brain. It’s not much of a state of your body, and pain is not directly proportional to how injured you are because all tissues heal in their processes. Your body has a natural healing capacity.
As practitioners and patients, we must understand that we are facilitators or must be facilitators to heal our bodies. We have to use different methods because there is no one-size-fits-all here. So, use different methods and work with your practitioner; talk to your practitioner, and give them a comprehensive idea of your lifestyle so that the practitioner can work with you and tell you what has to be done. You can do that and be pain-free. So, living with pain is a statement. I cannot entirely agree because you don’t have to do it if you do the right things at the right time.
NourishDoc: Thank you so much. These are great tips, holistic tips, advocating a holistic lifestyle that you can incorporate, and that’s what we are doing. More so now, with all the Omicron and COVID happening, right? With that, thank you so much, Anjana, for being with us to all of our viewers. Thank you for supporting us throughout. We are launching many workshops. So, stay tuned, and we’ll keep everyone informed about that. Have a great day, everyone.